Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Pilcrow Pub Launch Party

If you haven't heard about the Pilcrow Pub yet then you need to look them up! 

They are building a pub and they want as many people as possible to help them. It's going to be based at Saddler's Yard to begin with and the plan is to make it transportable. Over the coming months they are going to put on loads of different workshops that will enable people to muck in and help add to the making of the pub. So for example it might be a workshop making work benches, aprons, tiles etc which will then be used to build the pub. 

The launch party was a great event that took place next to Sadler's Yard where the pub will initially be built. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo but we were given a little envelope each with 3 different handmade tokens in that we could exchange for a beer. There was also lists put up around the space of different workshops which you could sign up for. 

If you want to get involved sign up on their website to get notifications and find out what other workshops you can take part in completely free!

Sunday, 17 January 2016

GRUB Grotto
I was thrilled to be asked by the brilliant GRUB to help them with a project for their Christmas Food Fair. GRUB put on fantastic food and beer events all around the city of Manchester and if you don't know about them you can find out more here

For one day only we'll be bringing beer, wine, spirits, hand made sodas, cracking coffee, mulled things, street food, live music, DJs, at least one choir and present stalls to Sadler's Yard. Have we forgotten anything?
YES WE HAVE! Santa will also be in attendance. The actual Santa. Not one of his 'helpers'. The real deal. You'll be able to have a #santaselfie with him. It will be sick.
I was asked to make a grotto for the Santa Selfies to take place in. After initial meetings about what resources we had and what aesthetic GRUB were after we came up with suitable idea. We decided to use their gazebo but we wanted to have a natural, festive feel inside like you were stepping into a winter wonderland. It was decided that to disguise the fact it was a red, plastic gazebo I was tasked with making 6 stick curtains. Bailey of GRUB fame did a fantastic job collecting hundreds of sticks which he delivered to my studio. 

I then set about cutting them so one meter lengths. We calculated that I needed about 40 sticks per curtain. 

I then painted a number of sticks to have some small accents of colour. I chose quite muted pastel colours to fit with the brief I had been given by GRUB. 

The final step was to tie the sticks together using string to form the stick curtains.

As well as the stick walls I decided to make some branch trees to fill the space inside the gazebo. To put these together I collected large branches that had fallen off the trees (it helped that we had had gale force winds) and I secured them in buckets by surrounding the branch with bricks and then filling the remaining space with expanding foam. I then cut the top layer of foam off and collected moss to cover the top of the bucket and give it a natural feel. 

I made decorations to hang on the trees including owls, robins, wooden shapes and snowflakes. (The snowflakes were crocheted by my good friend Claire Ronayne) 

Final touches were some beautiful cut out snowflakes and some garlands of greenery.

A massive thanks goes out to Rachel Clarke who got up early on a Saturday to help me install the grotto. Pictured above with her woolly hat on :) turns out she's really strong!
I was really pleased with the final outcome and I think GRUB were too. They put on a fantastic event and coped brilliantly with the last minute change of plan due to weather warnings. The Santa Selfies raised over £100 for charity too.

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Tread Softly

So as well as continuing with my own practice I am embarking on a small scale business venture which will predominantly be re-purposing second hand furniture. I will be a sole trader and will operate under the name Tread Softly. My twitter handle is Hannah Wiles @TreadSoftlyMCR where you can follow what I'm up to.

The name comes from a poem and although I am not religious I thought the sentiment fits well with the ideology behind the business and links well with my background in stitch.

The Cloths of Heaven

Had I the heaven's embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light;
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

W. B. Yeats

The following is from my business plan:

The aim of the business is to re-purpose obsolete furniture re-imagining it to create beautiful unique pieces and home accessories using sustainable materials. The company is owned and managed by Hannah Jessica Wiles, with Heather Read as lead advisor and is structured as a sole trader.
We feel that there is a heavy leaning towards the mass produced and disposable society and wanted to push back against this by offering a product that treads lightly on the earth through re-purposing unloved furniture and turning them into modern pieces of furniture which are unique and will be well loved in their new home.

Art & Science Critical Forum 1: Environment
Rogue Artist Studios and Project space

Although I was a bit late and it was awful weather on a Friday night I'm really glad I went to this. It's been a long time since I've listened to other artists talk about their work and then had a chance to discuss their ideas. Always great for inspiration no matter what the subject matter or medium of the work. Thanks to Annie Carpenter for organising this! Looking forward to the next one :)

The first critical forum will take place at Rogue Project Space (now on the 1st floor). We have the wonderful Alice Sharp and Bianca Manu fromInvisible Dust as special guests. The event will take the form of informal presentations by artists intersperced with discussion. The loose theme for the 1st session is 'environment'. Everyone is welcome to attend but if you would like to present your work please email Annie Carpenter -

Kindly supported by Arts Council England.

Rogue Open Studios 2015
October 23rd - 25th 

After 3 years away from the world of art I was thrilled to be welcomed back to Rogue Artist Studios. I am back on the 1st floor sharing a space with two other lovely artists. It just so happened that I got my space back with one week to go until Rogue celebrated its 20th anniversary with its annual open studio event.

It felt great to be back in there in time to celebrate with them. As I haven't made any work for 3 years I opted to show some past work which was the work I did in a residency at Titos in Liverpool which you can read about on this blog. It was four week residency in a derelict bakery in Liverpool supported through The Arts Organisation. I also replicated some of the work in the photographs in the studio space. 

There are over 100 artists in Rogue studios and I didn't take many photographs but it was a fantastic event and a great opportunity to see some of the great work being made in the studios. 

Royal British Society of Sculptors
2011 Bursary Award Winners
17th November - 16th December

I was invited to make a site specific piece of work for the RBS bursary award winners exhibition in London.

The RBS Bursary Awards 2011 is a showcase of current contemporary practice; ten sculptors have been presented with this prestigious award and this unique opportunity of exhibiting their work as part of a group show in London. The rich diversity of work reflects the individual artists’ background and their journey using sculpture as a means to express their ideas.
Sculpture is social. It is restless in its enquiries about space and place. And it continues to thrive. We can see all of these qualities on display in the work of the winners of this year’s RBS Bursary Awards. Ekow Eshun, August 2011
RBS Bursary Award Winners 2011: James Balmforth, David Buckley, Alex Chinneck, Mark Davey, Sian Griffiths, Julia Malle, Kate McLeod, Eric Schumacher, Katie Surridge, Hannah Wiles
You can view the exhibition catalogue here.

There was some lovely work exhibited exploring different ideas of what sculpture is. I took some photographs at the preview evening, they're not the best but give a feel for the evening.